There is always Competition in Business. Prepare for Your Competitors and you prepare to succeed.
Competition in business is inevitable. Every business will, sooner or later, have to deal with competitors and that is a plain fact of business life.
How do we prepare to deal with competition then?
Well, if the surveys are correct, most businesses do nothing to prepare for competition and in fact know every little about their competitors.
Some businesses, more through luck than judgment, survive this lack of knowledge, others unfortunately do not.
Be Prepared for your Competitors …
I would never recommend knowing nothing about your competition in business. Knowledge is strength.
The answer to competition in business is to start your preparations early, to understand and meet the challenge of competitors. Starting early means researching your potential competitors, before you even start your business.
In fact your research findings should be included as part of your business plan.
If you are already in business, don’t worry, it is never too late to start researching your business competition.
But, if you don’t know your competitors you are going to lose market share as well as your customers. So it is well worth investing time in researching your competition.
Before we take a look at the ways and means of researching your competition, it might be an idea to try and define what we mean by competition in business.
Defining Business Competition …
The sum total of any business competition can usually be broken down into two groups.
The first group will be those competitors who use similar marketing, advertising, manufacture similar products or use similar skills to your business. For example, Coca Cola and Pepsi are competitors within the beverage industry.
The other side of the coin is that group of competitors who will be expected to supply to customers from within your industry sector. Anyone who also sells drinks, so taking potential customers away from Coca Cola or Pepsi, are also competitors of both.
All competitors in the first group are competing for the customers dollar in the second group.
Always bear both competition groups in mind, and plan how to overcome the first and attract the customers of the second.
Researching Competition in Business … Know thy enemy
Before going into business, it is always a lot easier to tell yourself that you have a winner and can’t go wrong, than it is to do the research to prove it. But doing the research is essential if you are to be prepared for competition in business.
It’s easy and you can do it. Here;s how …
Define who your competition in business are? List all possible competitors both from within the strategic group and from the customer group.
Are your competitors local, national or even international? Are there likely to be greater numbers of competitors in the future?
- Visit them, buy from them and phone them. Are they doing a good job with good products? What services do they offer? Talk to their employees to find out as much as you can.
- Ask their customers for a recommendation; are they happy with your competitors services?
- Read anything and everything you can about them in newspapers, trade magazines, at libraries, from annual reports.
- Use the internet. Check out their websites; search the web for information on your competitors.
- Subscribe to newspapers in your competitors home towns. These are often the first to make new information about your competitor, public. If your business competitor have email or other mailing lists, get subscribed.
- Attend trade shows, media events and any other events where you can expect to pick up information about your competitors.
- If you are already in competition in business, ask your customers what they think of your competition. Do they buy from them and why? Is there any price competition?
- Governments, universities, radio stations, standards associations all carry out business surveys. Many will cover your competitors so you can learn from them at little or no cost.
- Market research companies, competitive intelligence services and similar business software, are all available to help you investigate your competition. Media monitoring services that automatically track keywords in broadcast, online and print media are a good and inexpensive way to gather information.
All, any, or some of the above, can be used to prepare you to know thy enemy, and to help prepare yourself to deal with your competition in business.
Information is King when it comes to Competition in Business
Don’t go into business blind. Plan to know your business competition, where they are, who they are and how well they are doing.
Understand the possible threat to your business, understand your competitions strengths and their weaknesses. What are they doing that might offer opportunities for you and your business?
Decide how much of a threat they are to you and plan how to counter it.
Work out how they attract their customers? Can you attract those customers to you?
Use their best and most profitable ideas to improve your own business and your customer service.
Competition in business is inevitable, but understanding it and being prepared for it, will make you and your business stronger.